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A Fair Fight

Conflict is a natural and healthy component in any worthwhile relationship. Avoiding conflict results in building resentments and destructive or dysfunctional conflict can cause lasting emotional scars. Therefore, it is important to learn how to fight, and how to fight fair. When certain ground rules are adhered to during the argument process, the results can be beneficial. Healthy conflict gives way to clear boundaries, mutual respect, and greater trust in a relationship. With all that in mind, here are some rules for fair fighting:

  1. Fights should be held in order to reach a solution, not to gain a victory.
  2. The basic outline of a fight should be:  a) State your gripe b) Suggest some alternatives and c) Reach a solution.
  3. You cannot refuse to fight. If something is important enough to one member of the relationship, it is worth fighting over.
  4. State your gripe in the form of a positive request, not a demand.
  5. Fight about one thing at a time.
  6. If a fight is a question of fact, then it is your duty to get the facts.
  7. If a fight is a matter of opinion, you must recognize it as such and realize that a compromise is the only solution.
  8. Don’t play psychologist. Don’t try and tell others what they are thinking or feeling. DON’T ASSUME.
  9. Don’t try and mind-read. It’s impossible, so ask instead.
  10. Don’t play archaeologist. Don’t dig up things from the past; fight about your present gripe only.
  11. Don’t make speeches. State your gripe and then let the other person answer.
  12. If your opponent states a point, you must respond to it before you can make a new one. Answer questions directly.
  13. No name calling.
  14. No emotional blackmail…”If you loved me you would…”
  15. Go back to rule number #1 and never forget it. Fights should be held in order to reach a solution, not to gain a victory.

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